DOC NYC’s Short Lists & Winner’s Circle comprise an annual in-person screening program showcasing films that are leading contenders for the Oscars and other awards. NOTE: This program is separate from DOC NYC's Main Slate official selection - for information regarding DOC NYC's Main Slate, please visit

Films selected for DOC NYC's Short Lists & Winner's Circle will be screened at Manhattan venues between November 8 - 16, 2023, often with filmmakers in attendance for post-screening conversations moderated by curators, critics and industry colleagues.

The program consists of three sections:

Short List: Features - This section, launched in 2011, curates 15 features and has been a leading predictor of future Oscar nominees and winners.

Short List: Shorts - This section, launched in 2018, curates 15 shorts and has quickly established a strong track record for anticipating future Oscar nominees.

Winner’s Circle - This section, introduced in 2019, highlights films that arrive at DOC NYC with significant awards pedigree already in place. Past films shown in Winner’s Circle that all went on to further acclaim include “Writing with Fire,” “The Mole Agent,” “A House Made of Splinters,” "Bad Axe,” “Midnight Family,” and “Advocate”. To qualify for inclusion in this category, films must have won a major award at a significant international or US film festival.

For 10 of the last 11 years, DOC NYC has screened the documentary feature that went on to win the Academy Award, and the festival has presented 49 of the last 55 Oscar-nominated documentary features. In 2022, DOC NYC screened 12 of 15 titles that were named to the subsequent Academy Award Documentary Feature Shortlist, and hosted the World Premiere of “The Elephant Whisperers”, which went on to win the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject.

DOC NYC's 2022 Short List Awards included recognition for “All that Breathes,” “Descendant,” “Fire of Love,” “Retrograde,” and “As Far As They Can Run.”

To be eligible for these sections, films must have fulfilled Oscar-qualification requirements by the 2023 Academy deadline.

In the Short List: Features category, a jury of documentary filmmaker peers awards the following prizes:

- Directing Award
- Producing Award
- Editing Award
- Cinematography Award
- Original Score Award (new for 2023)

In the Short List: Shorts category, a jury of documentary filmmaker peers gives one award, for Directing.


• Films programmed for Short List: Features and Short List: Shorts must be eligible for the 96th Oscars. Documentaries previously deemed eligible by AMPAS in prior years will not be accepted.
• Films programmed for Winner’s Circle must have won a major film festival award between the dates of October 2022 - September 2023.
• Feature documentaries are forty-one (41) minutes or longer. Shorts are forty (40) minutes or shorter, including all credits.
• If the documentary is in a language other than English, it must be subtitled or dubbed in English (subtitling is preferred).
• None of these sections have any premiere requirement. If you have questions about the eligibility of your Feature, please email BEFORE submitting.


• All submissions MUST be made via FilmFreeway. We do not accept submissions made by email.
• If you change your screener link, or the password connected to it, make sure to update this in your FilmFreeway entry and to email the updated information to
• Filmmakers may submit more than one documentary, but each documentary must be accompanied by its own Entry Form and Entry Fee.
• The Entry Fee is non-refundable.
• Mailed materials will not be returned. Please do not send DCPs, film prints, master tapes, or other originals.
• All entrants will be notified of their status on or around October 14, 2023, via email.
• Please keep us informed of any changes regarding your contact information by emailing
• Due to the number of submissions received, DOC NYC, unfortunately, cannot provide feedback on entries.
• Unless your film is officially selected for inclusion in the festival, DOC NYC's name or logo may not be used in any of your film’s marketing and/or promotional materials.
• Filmmakers cannot submit Features to specific competitive or thematic sections. The DOC NYC programming team determines section placement after film selections have been made.
• For questions regarding submissions, see Festival Description or email


By submitting this documentary film (the “Film”), I understand that I am agreeing to the following:
• I have the legal right to represent and to submit this Film to the DOC NYC film festival (the "Festival”) and IFC Theatres LLC (“IFC”) and all statements on this document are true;
• There is no action, suit, claim or proceeding pending, affecting or, to the best of my knowledge, threatened against this Film or its producers, cast, or crew in connection with this Film or otherwise;
• Unless the film is officially selected for inclusion at the Festival, I understand that I cannot use the DOC NYC name or logo in any of my film’s marketing and/or promotional materials;
• Music and any other third party material clearances and all copyright clearances are my sole responsibility and, if selected for the Festival, I agree that the Film will be fully cleared prior to the first screening at the Festival and no part of the Film will violate or infringe upon the rights of any third party. None of the Festival or IFC will be held responsible for any legal disputes regarding the exhibition of the Film. Noncompliance may affect, delay, and/or disqualify my entry.
• If the Film is selected for screening at the Festival, I grant each of the Festival and IFC the right to screen the Film at the Festival;
• I understand and agree that the Film, if selected for the Festival, may be used for promotional purposes for the Festival, IFC and/or its affiliates, partners and sponsors; and I grant each of the Festival and IFC, and its affiliates, partners and sponsors, the right to use provided footage (not to exceed 5 minutes), stills and/or titles and information from the Film for such promotional purposes;
• Should the Film win any award, I am authorized and/or empowered by all parties legally representing and/or owning the Film to receive all cash prizes and awards and to distribute them appropriately;
• I fully indemnify and hold the Festival, IFC, and each of their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, affiliates, sponsors, licensees, and assigns harmless from and against any and all claims, damages, liabilities, costs, and expenses in connection with the Film, including:
• reasonable attorneys’ fees and other expenses of defense arising from or in connection with any breach of any of the foregoing agreements, representations or warranties or from or in connection with any litigation or any claim or proceeding commenced by a third party alleging or arising from libel, slander, defamation, invasion of privacy, infringement, unauthorized use or any other right of such third party or wrongful conduct;
• damage to or loss of the film print or videotapes en route to or from the Festival or during the course of the Festival's possession of the entry;
• and any claims which may arise in connection with the Film.


If the Film is selected to screen at the Festival, you will need to provide the following:
• Digitally uploaded Projection DCP (and digital file if participating in online screenings) by the required deadline.
• Press kits, trailers, promotional materials, and additional screener links (for jury screenings, if selected for competition) for preview.
Please do not send these materials until your Film is selected for the program. The Festival reserves the right to complete any information not supplied by the filmmaker from whatever source available and will not be responsible if incorrect information is entered.
The Festival strives to make online and in-person screenings accessible to visually impaired and Blind/Deaf patrons. The Festival encourages filmmakers to provide descriptive audio and closed captioning in the Festival’s specified formats, if available, but the Festival will not be responsible for creating these film files.

Note: The Festival does not pay screening fees for films shown in theaters. If a feature film is shown on DOC NYC’s online platform, the Festival has a program to share revenue with the film’s rightsholder (short films are not eligible for this program).

Note: The Festival has the right to change any information contained in this document (including Festival dates, venues, events, presentation format, awards, and eligibility requirements) without further notice.